Violate these commandments at your own peril, for the Almighty Ridge will smite those who fail to respect it.
- Thou shalt be proficient and prepared to tow in windy conditions (eg: Checklists complete, no loose articles, belted in tight, emergency plan prepared, familiar with tow signals, etc.)
- Thou shalt test the ridge with a landing option in glide and your approach planned.
- Thou shalt not fly low and slow near a ridge (eg: < 150ft AGL AND < best glide speed).
- Thou shalt not drift downwind of the ridge band!
- Thou shalt not turn toward the ridge.
- Thou shalt s-turn until sufficiently above a ridge (min: 200ft AGL, 400ft better)
- Thou shalt turn nose low, coordinated, and with sufficient airspeed (eg: best glide speed).
- Thou shalt not fly into a box canyon.
- Thou shalt have a landing option in glide and approach planned at every moment when completing a transition to another ridge.
- When approaching an unlandable area, thou shalt reassess the conditions and establish your landing options/approaches ahead and behind you.
- Thou shalt not fly on the downwind (lee) side of the ridge!
- Thou shalt respect the right of way rules: Right wing to the ridge has the right of way.
- Thou shalt be proficient and prepared to land in windy conditions. Maintain extra altitude and airspeed during approach/landing. (eg: +200ft above IP, +15-20 knots in the pattern, turn final 100-200ft higher and land long down the runway if practicable.)
And if you’re flying at a site that requires soaring back to your airport:
Thou shalt establish and maintain a minimum margin to return to the airport (eg: Blairstown – 2400ft in a 1-26).
Note that these margins are provided as ballparks and may need to be adjusted for a given ridge site, sailplane, conditions, and the experience of the ridge pilot.